An Unusual Place for Hope


I like to do photography as a hobby. What I look for are unusual images that show texture and expression. The images often speak to me; they tell a story that has a metaphor for life. This photo was taken on a family vacation to Door County, Wisconsin on the Lake Michigan side.

The unmarked road led to the shore at Rowley Bay. There was an old fishery wharf with the boat moored there. No one was around which seemed unusual. The boat was of the iconic style of Lake Michigan fishing boats. It was not until I returned home from that vacation that I had the film developed. Then I saw the name on the boat — HOPE.

Wow! What stories this photo could tell. I labelled it “A Shelter in the Storm of Time.”

The Peaceful Day

The lake was still this day. The water was like a gently rippled mirror reflecting the boat. The catch was offloaded, so the captain and his crew took a Sabbath rest.

As I reflected on the Sea of Galilee where Jesus and his disciples traveled. One day the disciples took Jesus to the other side so Jesus could spend time away from the crowd. Jesus left His disciples went to a quiet place to spend time with His Father. Meanwhile, the disciples went fishing. Galilee was much like Lake Michigan. The weather could change quickly.

It was dusk and they were tired from their day of fishing. A storm had come and the disciples were caught by high winds and waves. They knew the Sea of Galilee having fished it often, but it was a struggle to remain safe this particular time. John saw someone walking toward them on the water in spite of the wind and the waves. In his perceptive way, John recognized who it was and cried out, “Look. It is Jesus.” Peter in his impulsive, extroverted way jumped over the gunnel and ran to Jesus, yes in spite of the waves. Peter was the typical extrovert–act, then think after the fact. In the moment that it dawned on Peter that he was doing the impossible, he sank into the waters of Galilee. He doesn’t try to swim back to the boat. He doesn’t ask John to throw him a life preserver. Peter has the wherewithal to cry to Jesus for help, “Save me Lord.”

Jesus uses Peter’s moment of doubt as a teaching tool as He grabbed Peter’s hand. Together they walk to the boat, climb over the gunnel, and get into the boat. At that very moment, the storm stopped and Galilee was calm. In one voice the disciples exclaimed, “You really are the Son of God!” All doubt was set aside.

The Shelter

There was a beautiful old hymn that came to mind as I reflected on this photo.

The Lord’s our Rock, in Him we hide,
A Shelter in the time of storm;
Secure whatever ill betide,
A Shelter in the time of storm.


Oh, Jesus is a Rock in a weary land,
A weary land, a weary land;
Oh, Jesus is a Rock in a weary land,
A Shelter in the time of storm.

Here was a wharf in Rowley Bay, a shelter from the usual ravages of the wind and the waves on Lake Michigan. This image was like a still life, a moment frozen in time. From those lyrics came the play on the words of that song–“A Shelter in the Storm of Time.”

The fishing boat named Hope bore witness to survival from the ravages of weather and time. The wharf was now ramshackled and weathered, no longer bustling with activity. At the end of the day, the fishermen would have been cleaning their catch, scaling the fish, and throwing the entrails into the waters of the bay. The gulls would be squawking, dive-bombing the surface of the water to feed, and competing with one another to have a seat at this banquet. The birds would hop along the wharf under the feet of the crew without concern, taking advantage of this feeding frenzy.

But the still life is devoid of the crew’s banter, the birds’ cacophony, or the fishy odors hanging in the air. All that remains in this frozen moment is Hope tied to the wharf, floating on the glassy waters. It is as if the boat sighs, remembering the storm of time, and rests in this moment of shelter. Time standing still.

What Do You Feel?

Take a moment and quietly breathe. Without a planned thought or even a judgment just imagine you know what it is like to live through the ravages of time. Let this thought join your quiet breath. Jesus promises to never leave us or forsake us. He who transcends time and space is our great high priest. in His time on Earth, He was fully human and fully God. He knows what it is like for us. It says of Him, “He experienced first hand our human struggle. And through His death, burial, and resurrection intercedes for us before His Father. Because of His work, you and I are victorious whatever our circumstances through Him. He is our Hope. Like the disciples in the ferocious storms of Galilee, we are safe in His presence.

Action Step

Share this post with a friend who is struggling. Let them know that they are not alone. Not only is Jesus there, but in keeping with the Great Commandment to love one another, share Christ love through you with that struggling friend. Let him or her know you are thinking of them and praying for them. After some time has passed, let us know what your experience was like to come alongside of another through Jesus’ love.

I am Lowell Routley and I personal know the power of the Hope found in Jesus Christ and expressed through community.



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